Marx vs Gilman

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Marx argued that the goal of intellectual work such as his was to change the world; an opinion obviously shared by Gilman since she was also on a mission to change the world, for women. Gilman is known for her humanist-socialist perspective but, I believe that her theories also share a similar quality to Marx’s conflict theory. Whereas Marx sees the conflict, or class struggle, being between the bourgeoisie (the owners) and the proletariat (the workers); Gilman sees the conflict, gender struggle, between men and women. Marx advocated social reform for the proletariat (workers).The focus of Marx’s conflict theory is that by eliminating privilege, the overall welfare of the society can be increased. This would then create a true equality amongst members of a society. He argues that privileged groups are working to maintain their privileges, while the disadvantaged are constantly trying to attain more. The owners are making all the profit while the workers are, basically, trading their labor for bare necessities like food, shelter and clothing. Gilman advocated social reform to women, similar to that urged earlier by Marx to workers. She recognized the inequalities inherent in the social structure of the working world which excluded women from most jobs, confining them to the world of the home where they worked all day, every day; their only compensation being the roof over their heads. They had no income over which they had complete control; and this is the situation she called on them to remedy. Although Gilman was a feminist, she believed that both men and women were victims of the damaged social structure. Women are forced to lead restricted lives, and this serves to limit their human progress; while, men suffer from behaviors that their cultural habits of dominance and power have told them are social norms. Therefore, both are victims of the social norms created by society. This concept of “equality of blame” also parallels Marx. Although he advocated for...
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